Photographer: H. August Smith http://haugustsmith.com @haugustsmith
Stylist: Lydia Marie http://lstyling.com @lydiamrie
Makeup and Hair: Juel Bergholm @juelhairnmakeup
Model: Kimber London @kimber.london @kimberlondonfanpage
Makeup Credits: Temptu AirPod
LOOK 1: scarf – Hermés, Boots – Timberland
LOOK 2: Jumpsuit – Rag & Bone, Scarf – YSL, Gloves – Womenswork
LOOK 3: Vest – G-Star, Scarf – Burberry
LOOK 4: Tank – Guess, Briefs – Versace, Boots – Chanel
LOOK 5: Tank – Polo Ralph Lauren, Jeans – H & M, Briefs – Versace, Bracelet – IceLink, Boots – Guess
LOOK 6: Tank – Polo Ralph Lauren, Jumpsuit – Rag & Bone, Briefs – Versace
LOOK 7: Trench – Burberry, Suede Pants – Valentino, Bracelet – Premier, Etage Paris, Shoes – Sketchers
LOOK 8: Tank- Polo Ralph Lauren, Briefs – Versace, Boots – Guess, Gloves – Womenswork
LOOK 9: Swimsuit – MIKOH, Scarf – Hermés
LOOK10: Briefs – Versace, Boots – Timberland
The skies shift with clouds casting faint shadows across the landscape below before drifting eastward. The sun beams down upon the dry landscape backlighting status of wild horses at the crest of a hill. It is just after dawn, the skies are clear, ideal conditions for bird watching, a hobby I picked up in honor of my late grandfather who left me his favorite Bushnell Legend binoculars. Climbing the hill with my gear, I breathe heavily reaching the top after an arduous ascent. I begin to set up the tripod when the engine of an old Ford pickup disturbs the early morning tranquil skidding to a halt at the base of the hill.
A figure makes their way up the bluff scrambling with ease and momentum, loose talus rocks tumbling down the path behind them. Two red-tailed hawks crisscross overhead, one of the rarest species in these parts. The figure comes into focus reaching the peak and stands tall before me statuesque amidst the figurine horses. I realize it is a woman, head shaved to the skin, wearing a Rag & Bone full coverage jumpsuit holding a welder’s helmet and torch.
She glances over at me adjusting a YSL scarf tied around her neck to cover her mouth as she wipes the glistening sweat from her brow and pulls the helmet over her eyes. She ignites the torch and approaches one of the lifeless rusting metal figurines of the wild beasts so free in nature yet so confined in this place. Her attitude exudes confidence and independence. I am drawn to her, captivated by her presence. Slipping my camera out of my bag, I snap a few pictures not even bothering to capture the Hawks.
After her job is complete, she treks down the rocks leaving clouds of dust in her wake. Intrigued, I follow several feet behind— disguised in the dirt. I reach the bottom as she is throwing her equipment into the bed of her pickup. Engine roaring and chugging, she peels out onto the deserted gravel road. I find myself suddenly back in my own vehicle, following her as if in a trance. I increase my speed past the recommended limit to catch up with the truck just as it pulls over onto the side of the road and the driver jumps out to unload a stack of orange cones. Hesitating for only a moment, I pull off behind her trying to think of how to explain myself.
“Excuse me..” I start then notice the metal spiked rod clenched between her fists. “Why are you following me?” Her voice is softer and more feminine than I imagined, mesmerizing me with its musical quality.
Snapping back to reality as she hops over the tailgate with the ease of a ninja, spike in tow I stutter “I’m a photographer! And…I…couldnt help but notice you back there. I’m honestly not sure why I followed you maybe I…just felt that I needed to capture you in digital.” Raising an eyebrow she scans my face.
“You’re lying.” She says matter-of-factly.
“Ok, I’m a bird watcher. But you’re the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen. Would you mind if I snapped a few photos of you working? I’m actually a fashion photographer, but I know what I’m doing. I promise I won’t interrupt.” Looking me up and down she cocks her head to the side and finally nods lifting the spike into the air and impaling it into the ground with great force.
“Don’t get in my way.” She warns, slipping on an orange safety vest and strapping on a leather tool belt, slinging several yards of black rubber hose over her shoulder. My mind races reveling in this moment. The juxtaposition of this working woman in a couture scarf and jumpsuit has my imagination running wild like the horses. The desert is my set and she is my muse. Taking a couple test shots, her movements are masculine but her essence is feminine. I envision her in matching orange Versace briefs and Guess white tank top elevated by Chanel spike-heeled, fur-trimmed suede boots instead of her brown leather Timberlands.
She hauls the hose over an embankment, gesturing for me to follow. On the other side is a junk yard full of abandoned cars, refrigerators and broken bicycles. I snap a few more shots as she picks up a steel pipe and shatters the windshield of a red truck. After a few blows, she maneuvers her body inside reappearing with a toolbox. She looks at me and laughs.
“I’ve wanted to take this the last few times I got jobs out here. Don’t judge me.”
She opens the vintage tool kit to reveal a hammer, several wrenches and a pair of safety goggles in relatively good condition. A black bandana hangs out of her back pocket which she uses to dab the sweat from her face. In my head, it’s a moisture-wicking Burberry wool scarf and she’s topless in Versace briefs, black instead of orange.
She begins to unravel the hose as we head back towards the embankment, laying it out on the ground. I can’t help but picture her in a Mikoh one-piece I saw in a magazine, with a breezy Hérmes scarf tucked into her belt. I pause for a moment, scrolling through my images completely enraptured by the woman before me. So strong and unique and fearless yet kind and soft and beautiful. Looking up I notice her at the top of the embankment, the metal spike in hand and I can’t help but wonder how she’d look in a Burberry trench cape barely covering her breasts and some Valentino pants, perhaps accessorizing with my grandmother’s Premier Etage Paris bracelet. She is gone again and I cross over the barrier to find her pulling a machete out of the passenger side of her truck.
“I’ve got to trim this house so keep your distance.” My camera clicks repeatedly depicting this moment. Of course, she wields the blade with the familiarity of a dinner utensil. She stabs the ground with it and begins to unzip her now dusty Rag & Bone coveralls revealing a white tank, similar to the Guess one I imagined she’d be wearing. She rests on a stack of tires and drinks water from a black canteen. Her long neck extends as she tilts her head back, a few drops of water cascading down her chest. The images are breathtaking.
I want to thank her before I go and look down at my wrist, adorned with the only designer piece I own, an IceLink bicycle-link bracelet. Unclipping it I hand it to her.
“I want you to have this. Thanks for letting me shoot today.” She extends her arm toward me. I latch it onto her and although it fits loosely it suits her perfectly. She looks at the bracelet then back at me and smiles.
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